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As indicated in previous Health Policy Monitor Reports, developing a national, centralised programme for IT, including a national electronic health record, was one of the signature NHS policy initiatives of recent Labour Governments. However, the new UK Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government has recently taken the decision to scale back this initiative significantly, by instead promoting a more locally-led plural system of IT.
Among OECD countries, the UK's cancer survival rates have traditionally been reported as poor, although there have been signs of improvement over the last decade. Improving cancer-related outcomes has been an important feature of government health policy during this time. In this report, the latest cancer care policies are summarised, some of which are a continuation of previous government policy, while other aspects are innovations of the new coallition government.
A central aspect of the new UK coalition government's plans for the NHS is to abolish primary care trusts and replace them with budget-holding GP consortia. The government claims that this is a revolutionary direction, devolving more responsibility to the local level, whilst others see the policy as almost a continuation (or evolution) of previous governments' attempts at giving more financial responsibility to GPs. This report will summarise the policy proposal.
This report summarises the Government's latest initiatives in the area of mental health policy, and thus supplements previous Health Policy Monitor Reports in this area. Recent initiatives range from broad strategy documents to specific initiatives designed to benefit defined groups, as will be detailed below.
The UK's response to the swine flu pandemic has been a salient feature of government health policy over the past year. The initial response was summarised in a previous report; the current report reviews the developments over the past six months. Many (largely repititious) press releases on swine flu have been issued by the Department of Health over the above stated time period, which reflects the importance that the DH has attached to their response to the pandemic.
Over the past several months, the government has announced a wave of cancer treatment and prevention initiatives, stung somewhat, perhaps, by reports that the UK lags behind other countries in Europe and North America in terms of mortality and survival rates for several types of cancer. This report will outline these new initiatives.
In February 2009, the Government released a National Dementia Strategy, which has the core aim of improving the welfare of dementia patients and those who care for them. This follows from the perception that care for dementia patients has been overlooked somewhat in the past. The government has outlined a governance, implementation and assessment strategy, and has strongly emphasised the need to involve local partners in order to improve care in this domain.
As in most countries, swine flu (H1N1) has been a public health preoccupation in the UK this year. The government's response to this problem has been swift (some might even say that it has been excessive), and during the course of the year the governemnt has issue a range of initiatives that it hopes will help to contain the virus. This report will detail those efforts, in chronological order.
In April 2004, the British Government introduced a new contract for GPs, making 18% of their income dependent on their performance against 146 indicators of clinical quality. The motivation for introducing the contract was to improve ?best practice? vis-à-vis evidence-based medicine, to improve accountability, and to tackle the widespread variations in the practice of medicine, which suggested that many patients were probably receiving sub-standard care.
These are the dying days of a (probably) dying government, and thus some of the newly initiated policies are perhaps inevitably somewhat 'desperate'. This report details some recent updates on the government's "Change4Life" initiative, a policy direction that aims to encourage people, particularly children, become more active, with the intention that this may serve to reduce levels of obesity in the population, both now and in the future.